All dressed up and no one to scare? If you're feeling uninspired by another year of Halloween pumpkins and the same old witch hats, then never fear! The onset of November brings weird and wacky celebrations to countries all over the world - so this year, why not throw caution to the wind and celebrate an entirely new kind of festival? Here we bring you three of our favourites from all over the planet, from the spiritual to the downright zany.
El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead - 1st & 2nd November, Mexico
Known in Mexico as El Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead festival takes place every 1st and 2nd of November in a ghoulish celebration of the circle of life. Coinciding with the catholic All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day, El Día de los Muertos honours the memory of family members who have passed on. At midnight on 31st October, the gates of heaven open and the spirits of dead children reunite with their families for 24 hours, with the spirits of the adults coming down the day after. Traditionally, great feasts are prepared using the deceased's favourite foods, and an altar is set up to remember them by. Visiting family graves is especially important during this time, with flowers and sugar skulls typically taken as gifts. Whilst this celebration of life and death is slowly becoming more familiar to the Western world, we think Mexico is still the ultimate destination to experience this festival of the macabre first-hand!
Diwali/Festival of Lights - 3rd November, India
For five days of every year, a myriad of places around the world are beautifully lit up in the annual celebration of the Hindu festival, Diwali. During this time, small clay lamps are filled with oil and lit to signify the triumph of good over evil, with the lamps kept burning throughout the entire festival. Houses are cleaned, new clothes are worn and snacks and sweets are circulated amongst friends, all in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. One of the biggest Diwali celebrations can be found in Goa in southern India, where villages compete to see who can build the biggest effigy of the demon Narakasura, burning the effigies at the dawn of Narakasura Chaturdashi - the day before the main day of Diwali. Goa is an unbeatable place to experience the wonder of Diwali, proving the ultimate paradise backdrop for the beauty and spirituality of the festival of lights. So take the plunge and make this the year that you book yourself a flight to Goa - just in time for this year's Diwali.
Pirate festival - 7th-17th November, Cayman Islands
Every November, the Caribbean paradise of the Cayman Islands revisits history with a ten-day festival of self-described 'controlled mayhem', beginning with a full-scale mock invasion by pirate ship. Thousands line the streets to watch as two huge replicas of 17th century galleons sail into George Town Harbour, both swarming with seafaring rogues ready to carry out their 'surprise' attack on the island. The ensuing battle and the choreographed kidnapping of the local governor is all good-natured family fun - and there's a twist every year for those that think they've seen it all! The rest of the festival comprises of street performances, dances, parades, fireworks and themed events - so don your eye patch, practice your best swashbuckling moves and check out the island's official website for more information.
So there you have it, three ways to enjoy some fantastic festivities this autumn - without a trick or treater in sight!